Background: Clinical leadership and the safety, quality and efficiency of patient/client care are inextricably linked in government reports, major inquiries and the professional literature. Objectives: This review explores the literature on clinical leadership development within preregistration nursing programmes. Method: The literature retrieved from a scoping review was evaluated to identify what is already published on the development of clinical leadership within pre-registration nursing programmes. Twenty-seven publications matched the inclusion criteria and were included in this review, 14 journal articles, one thesis and 11 chapters within one book were analysed and three themes were identified: clinical leadership; curriculum content and pedagogy. Results and main outcomes: This review identified a paucity of literature specifically relating to clinical leadership and pre-registration nursing programmes and what is available is inconclusive and unconvincing. Conclusions: Academics, curriculum development leaders and accreditation bodies have a responsibility to influence how nurses are prepared for the profession as such clinical leadership and the new graduate should be considered an area of greater importance.